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Dayton open to discussion on e-cigarettes but reluctant to change his mind

Posted by: Abby Simons under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators Updated: March 28, 2014 - 4:12 PM

When it comes to an all-out ban on the indoor use of e-cigarette devices, Gov. Mark Dayton said he’s open to listen, but stood firm that such a bill should not pass this session.

“I don’t know that there’s conclusive enough evidence that would warrant banning of them in all buildings in Minnesota,” Dayton said Friday. “I think the timing is ill-advised…we raised taxes on cigarettes (last session). Some people say this is helping (smokers) quit, well that’s what we want them to do is quit.”

Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, is Senate sponsor of a bill that would ban sale of the devices to children and ban their use indoors in all public buildings. The bill is supported by groups like the American Lung Association and Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger, saying there are no studies that prove the vapor exhaled from the devices is safe. Proponents of e-cigarette use, often referred to as “vaping,” say there’s no proof that it’s dangerous.

Dayton first expressed his doubts about banning indoor use of the devices this week, after the Senate Commerce Committee cleared Sheran’s bill. Afterward, Commerce Committee Chair Sen. Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, asked that the bill be re-reviewed. However, Sheran dual-tracked her proposal through a Health and Human Services omnibus bill, meaning it will remain on the floor for a vote this session.

Sheran said that in the meantime, she plans to meet with Dayton in hopes of changing his mind.

Dayton said he despite the disagreement, he respects the opinion of Ehlinger and is meeting with Sheran next week. However, he stopped short of saying he was open to changing his position.

“I’m not enthusiastic about the absolute ban; I won’t say ahead of time whether I will veto it or not veto it,” he said. “I need to see the language again.”

Dayton said he wishes the bill would return in 2015.
 

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